ColegauCymru staff along with colleagues from FE colleges, Welsh Government and Estyn have recently returned from a study visit to Germany where they explored digitalisation strategies for vocational education training (VET) and adult education.
The long-awaited visit, delayed due to the restrictions of the pandemic, took place in July in Baden-Wuerttemberg (BW).
Starting the week at one of the largest adult education centres and public FE institutions in Germany, Volkshochschule Stuttgart (VHS), the group saw first-hand the exceptional approach to adult VET. With more than 5,000 training and further education offers available each year, VHS develops the individual talents and interests of its learners - regardless of their social background or level of education. The centre prides itself on the principle of openness that applies to learners, topics and methods. In order to achieve this goal, diverse and long-term co-operation with other institutions and organisations is essential.
Led by Andrea Bernert-Bürkle, she explained the dual VET system in BW, a specific approach that combines the advantages of training in a company with education in a vocational school. There was also an opportunity to meet with the Centre for School Quality and Teacher Training Lead, Christiane Spies, who discussed the relationship between industry and education in the region and the importance of digital to vocational training during the pandemic.
Day 2 provided the group with an opportunity to hear from an employer with a virtual tour of the campus, developed to address the centre’s training needs on a worldwide basis. The group then went took a closer look at the adult learning offer, which led to a lively discussion on the usefulness of a centralised platform to assist with curriculum delivery in Wales.
There was also an opportunity on day 3 to visit VET school Friedrich-Ebert-Schule. The group saw high-tech engineering and manufacturing facilities intermingled with traditional learning environments, chatted with learners and saw augmented reality and artificial intelligence technology as a means of training delivery, in action!
Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion Chief Executive and Principal, Dr Andrew Cornish said,
“A hugely informative visit which made me consider my own institution and whether we are meeting everyone’s needs and making the best use of technology to package our offer to staff.”
CollegesWales International Project Manager Sian Holleran added,
“Our visit to Stuttgart was both insightful and enjoyable. It was great for us to see innovative and different ways of approaching further education delivery in action, and to consider ways in which we can improve our offer here in Wales.”
“It’s invaluable for colleagues from different countries to come together to engage in knowledge sharing. Building strong partnerships for mobilities is an essential part of the exchange process.”
Sian Holleran, CollegesWales International Project Manager